Mankato Golf Club is a Private, 18 hole golf course located in Mankato, Minnesota.
Thomas Bendelow designed the original 9 holes in 1919. William Langford added the additional 9 holes in 1954.
Among other things, the course has six unique par threes, half of which require a beautiful ravine carry. Three water ponds and mature trees add to the challenge and ambiance.
Par for the course is 71. From the back tees, the course plays to 6,197 yards. From the forward tees, the course measures 5,004 yards. The longest hole on the course is # 5, a par-5 that plays to 540 yards. The shortest hole on the course is # 16, a par-3 that plays to 141 yards from the back tees.
Watch out for # 2, a 397-yard par-4 challenge and the #1 handicap hole on the course. The easiest hole at Mankato Golf Course is # 16, the 141 yard par-3.
Mankato Free Press article, by Marie Wood Aug 23, 2009
When Fred Taylor was five, his parents paid him a quarter an hour to weed the greens at Mankato’s Southview Country Club, where Applewood Restaurant and Banquet Center now stands.
Now at 52 years old, Taylor has been the golf course superintendent at Mankato Golf Club since 1992, where he has worked for some 30 years. His favorite spot on this Par 71 course is the 15th tee because it looks out over the Minnesota River Valley.
“One of the great things is getting here at 5:30 a.m., the irrigation is going, the course is green, everything’s working. That’s the best feeling,” said Taylor of Madison Lake.
It’s the perfect job for Taylor since it combines his knowledge and skill in turf, trees, and horticulture, his mechanical aptitude with mowers and golf carts, his management abilities, and political finesse with members and a board of directors.
“What’s great about this job is the wide range of responsibilities and jobs to do,” said Taylor. “That’s what makes it interesting.”
A man for all seasons
Summer days are long and dictated by the weather — rain, heat, humidity, drought, and storms. One day the course can be in pristine condition and the next day Taylor may be cleaning up after a storm.
An early riser, Taylor wakes up at 4 a.m. He puts the coffee on and checks the radar and weather on the computer to see what the day has in store for him. He also checks the club’s tee schedule. As he showers, he thinks about how to attack the day.
By 5:15 a.m., he’s at work. The early morning hours are a good time to mow and spray chemicals. Taylor prefers to be on the course rather than in the office.
“You don’t know what’s going on at the golf course if you’re in the office,” said Taylor.
While his crew goes home at 2 p.m., Taylor often stays until 4 p.m. It’s not unusual to come back around 8 p.m. to inspect the course hot spots — greens known to burn out — and give some a quick drink.
“When you mow greens below an eighth inch, there’s no room for error,” said Taylor.
While Taylor often receives compliments on the beauty of the course, he remains humble.
“I take zero credit. It’s my crew or the Grace of God,” said Taylor. “I’ll take responsibility for something that’s screwed up.”
Taylor’s assistant superintendents, Allen Starke and Scott Ness, have been with him more than 15 years and help him lead a crew of 17 groundskeepers. The longevity of his assistants may have something to do with his management style.
“I run interference for the assistants and the crew. I keep stuff out of their way so they can get their job done,” said Taylor.
As summer moves into fall, Taylor directs special projects such as rebuilding bunkers. He works outside until the snow flies. Then it’s time to work inside on the equipment: mowers, tractors and more than 50 golf carts.
The clubhouse is open year-round, so Taylor’s responsible for the maintenance of the building and grounds. His winter crew is four full-time employees.
Winter gives Taylor time in the office to work on the budget, maintenance plans, fertilizer schedule and more. Then in March, he goes into human resources mode to put together the best possible crew for
He also gets back on the course. There’s always pruning, tree trimming and tree removal to be done. At the end of March, Mankato Golf Club opens for business.
“We remove the covers on the greens. That marks the beginning of the season,” said Taylor.
The covers help protect the greens from harsh winters. Sometimes there is a stark contrast between the emerald green of the grass beneath the covers and the brown vegetation that surrounds it explained Taylor.
Life on the links
Taylor did odd jobs on the nine-hole golf course that his parents owned when he was a young kid. When he was a high school junior, the new owners hired him to work on the grounds.
In 1976, Taylor went to work for Harry Musser, the current owner of Applewood Restaurant and Banquet Center. Musser renamed the course Ironwood but closed it in 1984.
“He has an aptitude for the outdoors. I don’t think he belongs in an office,” said Musser. “He’s done exceptionally well. He’s hard-working and smart. He’s a good man.”
That summer Taylor started exploring a career in golf course maintenance. He also watched a golf tournament at Mankato Golf Club and it was the most awesome golf course he’d ever been on.
“I thought, wow, that would be the best job in the world to be superintendent at Mankato Golf Club,” said Taylor.
So Taylor went to the University of Minnesota, Waseca for turf and landscape development and interned at Mankato Golf Club. From 1978 to 1983, Taylor worked on the grounds crew and as assistant superintendent under Boots Fuller.
Then Taylor went back to school for a business degree at Minnesota State University, Mankato. After graduating from MSU in 1985, Fuller asked Taylor to come back to work for two weeks, because he was going to Europe.
“I came back for two weeks in 1985 and that has turned into 20-odd years,” said Taylor.
After all these years, Taylor has not lost his sense of humor. While he can appease a disgruntled member and deliver a professional presentation to the board, he can also quote “Caddyshack” and invoke Bill Murray’s classic groundskeeper Carl Spackler.
Board President Kent Reeves, owner of All American Towing in Mankato, likes Taylor’s hands-on approach to educating the board so they can make better decisions. And he always stays within his yearly $500,000 budget.
Taylor’s extensive knowledge brings a level of quality to the golf club that exceeds some of the best courses in the country, said past president Eric Opsal, financial advisor at Minnesota Financial Services in Mankato.
“We get wonderful bang for our buck with Taylor,” said Opsal.
Yet, it’s Taylor’s even-keel demeanor that is his best asset in satisfying more than 300 members who consider themselves his boss, said Opsal.
“His greatest strength is his ability to work in the political environment of country clubs in an effective way,” said Opsal.
Because his life’s work is on the course, Taylor only tees up occasionally.
“It’s like a mailman going out for a walk,” said Taylor with a laugh.
Guest (cart included), played on Friday, August 2012 at 2pm
Played with a member. Intersting layout 6 par 3's, 5 par 5's. par 71. Ravines run thru the course-"the Gob" and make for lots of target golf. a good course to play a second time.
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